Action Alert!

Will the Orthodox respond?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 02, 2004

In Rome this week, Patriarch Bartholomew I presided at the formal opening of an Orthodox parish, in a church donated to the city's Orthodox community by Pope John Paul II. The Pope's generosity, the Patriarch said, "will be appreciated throughout the Orthodox world, and will set an example to follow in ecumenical relations."

The Ecumenical Patriarch is 100% right; the Pope has set the standard. Now will Orthodox leaders meet it? Will they even try?

Put it this way: The Pope took a church that indisputably belonged to the Rome diocese, and gave it, as a free offering, to the Orthodox. Now if we can only convince the Orthodox leaders of Romania to give back the churches that belonged to Catholic parishes, and were confiscated by the Communist regime.

The Pope gave away what he owned. Now, just as a first step in following that example, maybe some courageous Orthodox leaders could return what the properties to which they have no rightful title.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 04, 2004 7:52 PM ET USA

    I don't know what to make of this present Pope. What does he think will come of this kind of behavior? Is he ashamed of the Catholic Church?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 04, 2004 2:47 PM ET USA

    The Orthodox are probably having a good laugh over this one. How gullible can Rome be?

  • Posted by: Cantor Rich - Jul. 03, 2004 12:37 AM ET USA

    The Orthodox won't even keep their paws out of an internal Catholic matter(the requested elevation of the Ukrainian Church to a patriarchate). How can we expect them to return that which is not theirs?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 02, 2004 5:01 PM ET USA

    Being "nice" to your enemy beyond a certain point simply doesn't work. it is perceived as weakness and is usually used as an oppurtunity for manipulation. Scripture says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him...if thirsty, give him to drink..." It doesn't say, "give him your house and sell your children into slavery to gain his favor" Why..., ALL they want is for the Pope to destroy the authority of his own office... Why..., that's ALL... and then, we'll ALL be Catholic...Yeah...sure...